Further £15.4m could be spent to improve cycling in Norwich

A further £15.4m could be spent to improve cycling in Norwich. Photo: Tim Ireland/PA

A further £15.4m could be spent to improve cycling in Norwich. Photo: Tim Ireland/PA - Credit: PA

A further £15.4m could be spent to transform another 20 miles of cycle paths in and around Norwich, after council officers lodged a bid to secure government cash.

If successful, it would see millions spent to improve two cycle routes. One is the yellow pedalway between Norwich International Airport and Lakenham, while the other is the blue pedalway from Sprowston to Wymondham. Both go through the city centre.

Norwich is one of just eight cities given the opportunity to share in a £114m pot of government cash to make roads safer for cyclists.

City Hall bosses had been given just a month to submit a bid for £8.4m of the Department for Transport's Cycling Ambition Cities cash and last week lodged its application.

It has focused on the blue and yellow pedalways, saying those are key routes where homes are being built and where people will want to cycle to get to work and to keep fit.

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If successful, 45 separate projects will be carried out along the two routes. Those projects include new cycle paths, 20mph zones,

junction changes and pedestrian crossings.

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But other major changes would see: traffic banned from All Saints Green; traffic stopped from turning right in Westlegate; the redesign of roundabouts in Fifers Lane/Ives Road/Heyford Road and Woodcock Road/Catton Grove Road; and filling in the subway in St Crispins Road with a replacement toucan crossing on the surface of the road.

Mike Stonard, the city council's cabinet member for environment, development and transport, said: 'This is really exciting. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the Department for Transport will approve the application, but I am hopeful as they did invite us to apply.

'The routes we have chosen are about linking housing to where the jobs are. We also want to improve people's health by encouraging them to cycle.

'We are aiming to double cycling in the city over the next few years. We want these routes to be safe enough for a 12-year-old to cycle on their own and for their parents to be happy for them to do that.'

The proposals were given a warm welcome by the Norwich Cycling Campaign.

Committee member Jeff Jordan, said: 'This is very much something we welcome. The city council had a very short space of time to be very specific about what it would be used for, but they have been consulting us in the short time they've had.

'This is quite a sum of money. There's a lot of potential for improving cycling throughout the city.'

He added cash could make a real difference to difficult junctions and another area to look at would be linking the end of the Marriott's Way to the city centre.

If the £8.4m is forthcoming from the government, the remaining cost of the scheme would come from Local Growth Fund money, developer contributions and from the owners of the airport.

The council says it would be a further shot in the arm for ongoing efforts to improve cycle routes, as the £5.7m Push the Pedalways scheme continues.

That project involves a string of improvements to the pink pedalway route – the eight-mile cycle route which stretches from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the University of East Anglia to Heartsease and Broadland.

The scheme includes new paths and cycle ways, 20mph zones and junction changes.

But some proposals have been controversial. Public opinion caused a proposed road closure in Park Lane to be scrapped, while a decision over changes to Tombland was altered after concerns were raised.

What do you think of cycling in and around Norwich? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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